Jared Kushner to visit Mexico amid strained Washington ties

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Jared Kushner
In this July 24, 2017 file photo, senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner makes a statement from the White House after being interviewed by the Senate intelligence committee in Washington, DC. -- AFP

MEXICO CITY — US President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner will visit Mexico on Wednesday, the Mexican government said, against a backdrop of strained ties between the two neighbors.

The foreign ministry said Mr. Kushner would visit as Mr. Trump’s “special envoy” and meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, who reportedly canceled plans for a visit to Washington after a testy phone call last month with Mr. Trump — the second time he has scrapped a visit over Mr. Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for his planned border wall.

US-Mexican relations have also been strained over trade issues, including Mr. Trump’s insistence on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to get a “better deal” for the US and his vow to include Mexico and Canada in steep tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Mr. Kushner will also meet with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, the ministry said in a statement.

“During these meetings, the two sides will review various issues on the bilateral agenda,” it said.

Mr. Kushner, the 37-year-old husband of Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, recently lost his top-level security clearance, raising questions about his role as one of the president’s closest advisors.

The Washington Post reported that at least four foreign governments, including Mexico, had sought to leverage his business and political vulnerabilities to their own ends.

Mr. Kushner reportedly has long-standing ties with Mr. Videgaray, and the two have been in frequent contact to try to smooth relations amid Mr. Trump’s repeated anti-Mexico diatribes. — AFP